Planning to Protect Workers and Avoid Lawsuits
One of the biggest questions facing businesses of all sizes, across all industries, as we attempt to reopen the economy is: how can I keep my employees safe and reduce the chance of being sued by an employee if they do contract COVID-19?
Here are three critical steps to begin the process of getting back to work safely:
1. Have a safety plan for re-opening.
This is key. Your plan should be communicated to your employees BEFORE they return to work, if possible. Safety plans can include mandatory face masks, temperature testing, limited workforce integration, social distancing when possible, and relaxed sick leave to encourage employees who feel unwell to stay home. This plan can also allow for higher risk employees to continue to work from home to reduce the risk of infection.
2. Support the plan.
Make sure your company provides everything that your employees need to comply with the reopening plan – every single workday. Masks, infrared thermometers, gloves, hand sanitizer, safety meetings, and explanation of policies are things that can make the workplace and workforce feel safe and looked after. The more you provide to your employees the safer they will be, and the less likely it will be that a sick employee takes issue with the company’s reopening.
3. Enforce the plan.
This is critical. Haphazard enforcement of a great safety plan can lead to negligence issues and negatively affect both employee safety and morale. Every employee in the workplace, from CEO to custodian, must follow the plan. If employees must be reminded and reprimanded for lapses in plan implementation you can team with your HR department or contact our firm to discuss strategies to enforce your safety policies. Keeping your employees safe and healthy will help to keep us all safe and avoid unnecessary expense to your company in the form of sick leave and possible litigation.
The attorneys at The Lynch Law Group remain committed and focused on assisting our clients and fellow business owners with the questions and legal issues surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. Please contact us if you need assistance in developing, implementing, and/or enforcing a safety plan for your business. We are here for you so you can be there for your employees, and then everyone can safely get back to work.